Just one moment…

That’s all it takes to completely change the future.

My uncle told me a story today about my grandmother during World War II. It was nearing the end of the war, near the summer of 1945, and she lived in a small village in China with her husband (my grandfather), and his mother (my great-grandmother).  She was 8 months pregnant with my uncle, her first born son. One day, the Japanese soldiers lined up all the villagers and formed a firing squad. They received an order to execute everyone before they left the country for good. She stood there in that line the entire day, probably thinking she was going to die. The commander must have had a soft heart, because they didn’t go through with it and all the soldiers simply vanished the next day. The Japanese surrendered shortly after, and a few months later, she was on a rickety old boat to Hong Kong, clutching her new baby and looking for a better life.

It boggles my mind, the ripple effect of what her being shot would mean.

People often comment on how close I am with my first cousins, they are siblings to me. My aunts and uncles are like secondary parents.   I still remember sitting in my uncle’s old station wagon, with seats in the back so you were staring out at the people behind you.  I remember my aunt scolding me for being impolite and not greeting guests that came over and how I cried because I was embarrassed by my behaviour.  I remember my oldest cousin dutch-ovening me in her basement apartment after she got married and learning what a dutch oven was.  I remember singing a whole new world with another cousin on a dark road and being cut off by our own screams when we almost ran something over. I could go on and on. We are still close to this day, and now their children are my nieces and nephews.

There are three generations alive today proceeding my grandmother. Three generations that would have ceased to exist.

All it took was one moment, one decision, and I’m sitting here writing this blog post.